Too cold for ice cream? Never!

Garden Terrace embraces a favourite summer treat on a cold autumn day

Who thinks of paying a visit to an ice cream truck on a cold, brisk, autumn day?

The residents, families and staff members at Garden Terrace, that’s who.

People living and working at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home recently proved that ice cream tastes great, no matter what the weather is like.

On Sept. 30, a Mr. Sundae ice cream truck turned up at Garden Terrace, and residents and staff members were quick to line up for ice cream cones and sundaes.

Ice creams were provided free to all residents and $3 each to family members and staff.

About 50 people in total turned up to get ice cream, says Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

Rachael says one of the big benefits from the Mr. Sundae visit was the social aspect. She says ice cream proved to be a great tool to get residents chatting amongst themselves and meeting new people.

“It was really nice, we had some social time, I got to chat with a lot of the residents, and the residents got to mix and mingle, so it was great that they had time to chat with each other,” she tells The OMNIway.

A photo booth was set up by team members for the day; however, due to the cool weather, most people decided to enjoy their ice cream indoors.

And, of course, visiting an ice cream truck was one last chance to hold on to summer.

“Someone said it was too cold (for ice cream), but one of the residents said, ‘I’ll have ice cream any time of the year,’ ” Rachael says, noting she agrees with this sentiment.

“I think ice cream is something people can enjoy even in the coldest of weather.”

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Garden Terrace Apple Fest proves to be a ‘fruitful’ way to start autumn

LEA Dakota Lynch created the program, which centred on apple pies and a fall-inspired craft

With summer coming to an end and autumn on the horizon, a Garden Terrace team member was recently inspired to create a fall-themed program to engage the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s residents.

Life enrichment aide Dakota Lynch came up with the idea to organize Apple Fest to celebrate the coming autumn season. She decided to focus the event on two things the fall season is known for: trees losing their leaves and apples.

On Sept. 8, the residents were treated to Apple Fest. The life enrichment team provided residents with apple pies and apple cider which everyone enjoyed.

Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King says Apple Fest proved to be the perfect way to launch the fall season.

“We wanted to kick off fall with apple pies and apple cider,” she tells The OMNIway.

After their apple pie and cider, about 15 residents broke into groups and made an autumn-themed craft: fall trees made from tissue paper.

Once the trees were complete, residents hung their creations on their doors as seasonal ornaments.

Rachael commends Dakota for coming up with a program idea that proved to be meaningful for residents.

“She thought it would be a cool idea to have Apple Fest for the residents, and the residents really enjoyed the day,” she says.

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Prom night comes to Garden Terrace

When it was discovered that some residents never attended prom, team members organized a special event

After several Garden Terrace residents mentioned they had not gone to their high school prom, the life enrichment team decided to create a prom night for them on Sept. 22.

“We thought it would be a fun idea to bring prom to Garden Terrace,” says Rachael King, the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

The event was a chance for residents who didn’t attend their prom to experience something new; for residents who did attend prom, it was an opportunity to reminisce about fond memories, Rachael says.

Residents got dressed up, and the life enrichment team worked with the ladies to apply makeup, curl hair and put on jewelry, she adds.

Some residents asked other residents to be their date.

A major highlight of the event was the voting for prom king and prom queen. After votes were counted, John Koiste was elected prom king and Eleni-Sahie Woldemariam received the honour of being prom queen.

Additionally, certificates of recognition were handed out to each resident attending the prom. The certificates were awarded to residents for a variety of attributes, including best bingo player and nicest smile.

Like with any prom, there was lots of dancing, Rachael notes.

“Many residents knew some dance moves from years ago – like the twist – and that was nice to see because many of them are great dancers,” she says.

At the end of the prom, residents got to have their photos taken in front of the Garden Terrace prom sign team members made.

There was a strong social aspect to the Garden Terrace prom, which, says Rachael, was an added benefit.

“There was lots of mingling, and a lot of the residents got to meet people they didn’t know,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Garden Terrace prom queen and king Eleni-Sahie Woldemariam and John Koiste are pictured here during the prom event the home hosted on Sept. 22.

Garden Terrace fall fair brings back favourite autumn memories for residents

‘They loved it; they said it was really nice to be outside and that it took them back to when they were kids’

Garden Terrace team members recently organized a fall fair for the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s residents that was highlighted by a corn roast and a visit from some exotic animals.

The Sept. 15 event was held outside the home and also included a photo booth, music and a gift basket draw.

Initially, the plan was to bring farm animals to Garden Terrace, but instead, the life enrichment team turned to the Zoo Crew, a company that handles a wide variety of unique animals.

Animals the Zoo Crew brought to the fall fair included a variety of snakes, rodents and turtles. Residents could have their photos taken with the creatures.

The fall fair also included a traditional autumn favourite: an outdoor corn roast.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King went to Hudson’s Farm Fresh Produce to buy ears of corn for everyone to enjoy. The life enrichment and nutritional care teams shucked and cooked the corn cobs for the event. Apple pie was also served at the corn roast.

The fall fair included a gift basket draw to help raise money for the Garden Terrace residents’ council. The main-prize basket was filled with autumn-themed items, including jams and decorations, and all proceeds went to the council.

Fall fairs have been a tradition shared by many cities and towns across Ontario for decades. Many residents have fond memories of attending fairs in their hometowns, and the event proved to be an opportunity for them to reminisce, Rachael says.

“They loved it; they said it was really nice to be outside and that it took them back to when they were kids – they really enjoyed it,” she says.

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Pet therapy returns to Garden Terrace

‘It was nice for them to get to see the dogs again’

It has been a long time coming, but a pet therapy program has returned to Garden Terrace, and the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s residents were happy to be reunited with two of their favourite canines.

On Sept. 14, residents had their first pet therapy session since the COVID-19 pandemic began 18 months ago. Two trained therapy dogs – a Labrador retriever and a Shetland sheepdog – visited Garden Terrace with their handlers from Ottawa Therapy Dogs.

To keep everyone safe during the pandemic, the program was kept outside, and mask-wearing and social distancing protocols were in effect.

Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King says residents were overjoyed to be able to visit with the dogs. The therapy dogs had been to the home before the pandemic began.

“They haven’t had pet therapy in over a year and a half, and a lot of the residents adore animals,” Rachael tells The OMNIway. “It was nice for them to get to see the dogs again.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020, non-essential visits to Ontario long-term care homes were halted. This meant pet therapy programs were suspended.

But with high resident vaccination rates and eased restrictions, Garden Terrace residents were able to enjoy an outdoor visit with their furry friends.

“A few of the residents recognized the dogs,” Rachael says. “It was a nice day and the residents loved it.”

Rachael says outdoor visits with therapy dogs will continue for the rest of the year as long as the weather permits.

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Vintage car show gets Garden Terrace residents reminiscing

Community connections helped make this memorable event possible

Garden Terrace residents were recently treated to a vintage car show at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home, thanks to volunteers from two local car clubs who generously donated their time and hot rods.

On Sept. 7, members of the Ottawa MG Club and the Ottawa Car Club brought their vintage wheels to the Garden Terrace parking lot for residents to see.

There were 16 cars at the home that day, including classic MGs, Rolls Royce models and muscle cars.

“The idea behind the car show was to get the residents to reminisce, which a lot of them did,” Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King tells The OMNIway.

“Residents talked about how they used to sit in the old car seats back in the day. And it was also a way to get the residents outside and doing things – that was a big goal.”

Rachael says about 30 residents attended the event. The volunteers chatted with residents about their cars and answered any questions they had. Residents were also invited to sit inside the cars.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, protocols were in place to keep everyone safe. The car club members had all been fully vaccinated, everyone wore masks, and residents, staff members and the car owners were provided hand sanitizer.

Rachael came up with the idea for the car show. She connected with the car clubs, and the clubs contacted their members who volunteered their vehicles and time.

“Everyone who came out was really excited; they were all very kind and it was very nice of them to volunteer their time,” Rachael says.

“The residents got to chat with people in the community and reminisce together, which was great.”

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Garden Terrace and Tim Hortons partner to deliver residents a coffee-and-doughnut social

‘It was nice for them to be outside and feel like they were out and about in the community’

Thanks to creative thinking from the Garden Terrace life enrichment team and the generosity of a local Tim Hortons outlet, residents of the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home enjoyed an experience they’ve been missing – a trip to the Timmies drive-thru.

On Aug. 27 the life enrichment team set up a Tim Hortons drive-thru window in the home’s cafe, and residents lined up to order coffee and doughnuts a local Timmies donated.

The idea for the drive-thru was hatched by life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King and the life enrichment staff.

Rachael had earlier contacted a local Tim Hortons and asked if the store would make a donation. The store manager, who happened to be looking for a community group to donate coffee and doughnuts to for August, agreed. The store sent 100 Timbits, 64 doughnuts and three carafes of coffee to Garden Terrace.

Life enrichment team members worked the drive-thru window wearing authentic Tim Hortons shirts and hats provided by a team member who was once an employee of the doughnut shop chain.

Residents and staff members picked up their coffee and doughnuts from the drive-thru, and then everyone went outside to the courtyard to enjoy the sunny weather and socialize.

Everyone, especially the residents, enjoyed the experience, Rachael says.

“There was a lot of participation, and it was a really nice day outside, so it was like having tea with a friend,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents got to eat outside and they got to socialize. It went really well.”

As much as residents enjoyed having their Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts, the social aspect of the day also meant a lot to them, Rachael says.

“It was nice for them to be outside and feel like they were out and about in the community,” she says.

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Talent show encourages Garden Terrace residents and staff to share their gifts

Residents and staff showcased their singing, dancing and artistic abilities at Aug. 10 talent show

During the August heatwave, the Garden Terrace life enrichment team was looking for a fun and safe way to engage residents with an indoor activity, and it was then life enrichment aide Alex Howell came up with the idea for a talent show.

On Aug. 10, the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s residents and team members participated in a safe, indoor activity that provided them with an opportunity to showcase their gifts for singing, dancing and acting – while staying indoors and keeping cool.

Some residents sang, while others danced or showed their artwork. One resident who sang did a number from an album that was never released, notes life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

Garden Terrace staff members also had the opportunity to take to the stage and show their talents, with one staff member performing a comedy act, while another staff member did cartwheels. One staff member did magic tricks for everyone.

Asked what residents enjoyed most about the event, Rachael says it was the singing.

“Their singing for sure, (because) they were able to bring out a part of themselves from something they enjoyed doing years ago,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The staff really enjoyed the songs the residents sang.”

Due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, activities in long-term care homes have been limited to small groups, and team members have been thinking outside the box to develop programs to meet residents’ needs.

Rachael commends Alex for coming up with the idea for the talent show.

“He was looking for an idea to get residents involved in something fun and he thought of a talent show, which was awesome,” she says.

“It was nice that they all got to have a good laugh together as a small group.”

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Summer Games inspire Garden Terrace to host an Olympic day

About 30 residents participate in safe, outdoor day of friendly competition

With all the excitement the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games generated, the residents of Garden Terrace wanted to have their own Olympic-style competitions at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home, so life enrichment team members made it happen.

On Aug. 9, the Garden Terrace courtyard was set up for a stream of events for residents to enjoy. The events included an egg-and-spoon race on an obstacle course, basketball, a target toss and a cup-stacking event where residents competed to stack and then unstack cups as quickly as possible.

About 30 residents competed in the events and pandemic-safe measures, such as mask-wearing for staff and social distancing, were in full effect, says Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

Of course, no Olympic competition would be complete without awarding medals, so life enrichment team members made gold, silver, bronze and participation medals to hand out after the events, Rachael says.

The Olympic day was a big hit with residents, she adds.

“A lot of the residents were really excited about the Summer Olympics going on, so we thought it would be a good idea to have our own Olympics,” Rachael tells The OMNIway.

Rachael says the life enrichment staff members did an outstanding job of organizing the event and creating banners and other decorations.

“They did a really awesome job,” she says.

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Garden Terrace dunk tank delivers fun and laughter while raising money for Alzheimer Society

July 29 event that got staff members soaked while raising money for charity

Garden Terrace residents had a “splash” on July 29 when they had a chance to get the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s staff members soaked in a dunk tank.

The event also raised $199 for the local chapter of the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Rachael King, Garden Terrace’s life enrichment co-ordinator, says the home was looking for a way to marry fundraising with an activity that would be fun for residents and bring back fond memories.

Hiring a dunk tank was the perfect fit, she says.

“This was something that brings back the fun people may have had as children – it got the residents to reminisce and they had a lot of fun,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents had a front-row view of all of us being dunked.”

The dunk tank was rented from a local rental company, Dunk Man. Lou Fast Food, a local chip truck, was also on-site at Garden Terrace for the day.

Staff members paid $5 for lunch from the chip truck and $3 to throw a ball at the dank-tank target to soak their colleagues. Lunch and throws at the dunk tank were free for residents. Proceeds from the dunk tank and chip truck will be going to the Alzheimer Society.

The local fire brigade came by to fill the dunk tank with water. Later on, the firefighters returned to Garden Terrace and volunteered to be dunked to help raise money for the Alzheimer Society.

Dunk tank day is one of the most recent outdoor events Garden Terrace has hosted to deliver some fun to residents during the pandemic.

“We’re trying to bring back some of the fun again after a really hard year,” she says.

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